As American as Apple Pie?

In 1995, Umberto Eco assessed that ‘Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration. That is why one of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups. In our time, when the old ‘proletarians’ are becoming petty bourgeois (and the lumpen are largely excluded from the political scene), the fascism of tomorrow will find its audience in this new majority.’ (source)

For whom is this Fourth of July dedicated to? The original First Nations people? The Afrikan slave? The immigrant? Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz explains a different history of USA and July Fourth’s meanings in her book,

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States

The integral link between Wounded Knee in 1890 and Wounded Knee in 1973 suggests a long-overdue reinterpretation of indigenous-US relations as a template for US imperialism and counterinsurgency wars. As Vietnam veteran and author Michael Herr observed, we “might as well say that Vietnam was where the Trail of Tears was headed all along, the turnaround point where it would touch and come back to form a containing perimeter.”

Seminole Nation Vietnam War veteran Evan Haney made the comparison in testifying at the Winter Soldier Investigations:

The same massacres happened to the Indians . . . I got to know the Vietnamese people and I learned they were just like us . . . I have grown up with racism all my life. When I was a child, watching cowboys and Indians on TV, I would root for the cavalry, not the Indians. It was that bad. I was that far toward my own destruction.

Great words, but not for all audiences. See below, my op-ed in the local rag, after a little bit of Rags to Riches soft shoe tap dancing. Yeah, yeah, another year has gone by, and the fireworks are littering our beaches, toxifying the air and water, scaring the wildlife and pets, and cork-screwing into the chambers of hell for those of us with any form of complex PTSD.

Business as usual, sort of.

The lockdowns are a thing of the past (not), and, sure, the grocery stores (many owned by a French guy and German guy and a British guy — guy as in investment outfit from those countries) have inflated, gouging, profiteering prices, the hardware store (monoply run by Koch; i.e. Home Depot, or the others like Ace and Lowes — bye bye mom and pops!) is out of the basics to keep the old house or apartment upkeeped (or the price gouging and war-lockdown-billionaire profiteering in a time of Covid-Monkey Pox-All Things Cancelled is almost comical, as in six to seven times the unit price for anything compared to 2019!).

Lots to celebrate, no? Trillions for the offensive military and surveillance and digital and prison and financial hobbling complex. Below is, as I have stated before, an attempt to reach retirees, service industry folk, timber and fisher workers, and vacationers in the local hard copy twice-a-week newspaper. Lincoln County, Oregon, is a very strange and dichotomous place indeed. High poverty, and highly educated. Rich retirees and hundreds running around the woods in meth madness. Service workers form Guatemala, and a timber industry that sprays agent orange on clear cuts. Right on the Pacific, west of the Central Coast Range, a paradise, sort of, with 78 inches of rain a year, verdant forests, winds, and dramatic coastlines. The NOAA research ship is harbored in Newport, and the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Sciences Center is located here as well. (see Haeder’s, “Bridging the Divide” and “Should We Trust Science?

When you read my 1,000 word piece, you will note that I self censored, and that is also called editing, knowing your audience, and capturing ten minutes of a person’s time with honey laced with a little bit of truth.

The Fourth of July essay, written by a communist, me. Mellow, milquetoast with margarine on top, and necessary for me, a man without a tribe, a man with shitty prospects on the downside of 65.

This is an exercise in dumbdowning and, well, infantilizing. Sacred cows and holy history. And yet, we have lots of killing in Ukraine to celebrate.  Getting people in the USA upset gets you, well, these lovelies:

  • If you criticize it so much, why don’t you just move to some other “great” country.
  • All countries have faults, but this one is the most dynamic in terms of the democracy, freedom of choice, capitalism experiments, and all those other countries certainly send their emissaries here to learn our ways.
  • To the conquerer goes the spoils — buck up. History is written by the victors.
  • And, so, why are millions crossing deserts and war zones to get to this supposed shit-hole if the country is so bad?
  • If we as a collective West don’t get into Africa and into Asia, then you just want the Chinese to exploit those places. I am sure the average Ethiopian is much more happier with Black Americans assisting with their country than the Chinese?
  • This is and always will be a Christian nation, and, yes, replacement theory is about concerns about the bloodline and the collective intelligence and spiritual and psychological alignments that the White Race have compared to those other cultures and races who have much different and anti-American values.
  • A good red/communist is a dead commie!

Easier said than done, just hitching out of here to another country. I just read that many/majority in the EU do not want more American military on those lands: 27 countries as of now, out of 44 European countries. Imagine that, those twenty-seven nations trying to extract the United States of Chaos/Lies/Destruction from the collective, which is bound to grow beyond the current  27 countries.

Not a Hallmark version of Fourth of July, but watered down, for sure, is what I give to the local readership.

Now now, we know why Hallmark sells so many cards, why Hersheys sells so many sweets, why apple pie is such an American treat. There is an American story behind every business, so here, J.C, Hall, of Hallmark fame. Again, PT Barnum, snake oil salesmen, reservations, boarding schools, genocide then, now and the future, so yep, the world for AmeriKKKans is La-La Land, and they complain about red state v. blue state, but the state of the American mind is mired in epigentic trauma, mostly not acknowledged, and the Karma is Coming Back to Kick this Country’s Ass, but it will be the Romans, with two centuries of collapse over a 500 year period of rape, mayhem, lies, chaos, disaster (47 BC to 462 AD). “Letting a sleeping dog lie” —  that is, to ignore a problem because trying to deal with it could cause an even more difficult situation  — is the American Way, 2022, a la endless death deals with ZioLensky and endless bioweapons research (sic) for endless ways to transform (eugenics) the world.

It is a mad mad mad world of Hallmarking the Country, while still Disneyfying and Walmartizing Mister Rogers’ Neighborhoods!

Hallmark Cards and their Nebraska Roots | History Nebraska

Hall was born in 1891 in David City, Nebraska, the son of Nancy Dudley Houston and George Nelson Hall, a traveling Methodist minister who had provided sparingly for his invalid wife and children. When Hall was seven, his father died. By age eight Hall was selling door-to-door with the company that eventually became Avon Products. Hall’s belief was that in the difficult economic straits of his widowed mother’s family, he needed to add a postscript to his father’s bible quote, “the Lord will provide”; it was, “It’s a good idea to give the Lord a little help.”

In 1905, Hall and his brothers invested $540 to buy picture postcards to sell to store owners and other dealers around their area. They also convinced some of the traveling salesmen who came into the Halls’ bookstore, which Joyce Hall’s older brothers bought with a partner in 1902, to add the postcards to their sales territories. Hall conceived the Norfolk Post Card Company in 1908 in Norfolk, Nebraska.

In 1910, Hall moved to Kansas City, Missouri, with little more than two shoe boxes of postcards. By 1913, he and his brothers were operating a store (which would eventually evolve into Kansas City’s Halls department store) selling not only postcards but also greeting cards. The store burned in 1915, and a year later, Hall bought an engraving business and began printing his own cards. It turned into a bigger business than he had had before. In 1928, he began marketing his cards under the Hallmark brand name.

Hall, who objected to the name Joyce and typically went by “J.C.”, retired in 1966 and spent his retirement in efforts to revitalize the Kansas City downtown area. One of the results was Crown Center, a combination business/shopping district surrounding the Hallmark corporate headquarters. Hall died in 1982 in Leawood, Kansas. (source)

Now, of course, that postcard salesman’s dream is a huge multi-company operation, conservative, dishing up Christian feel-good media while lobbying for conservitism and Republican values (sic).

Oh, then, there is slavery in my chocolate: Oh, that Hershey,

“The beatings were a part of my life,” Aly Diabate, a freed slave, told reporters. “Anytime they loaded you with bags (of cocoa beans) and you fell while carrying them, nobody helped you. Instead they beat you and beat you until you picked it up again.”

Brian Woods and Kate Blewett are ground-breaking film-makers who made history when they went undercover in China eight years ago to make a documentary which shook the world — “The Dying Rooms” — about the hideous conditions in Chinese state orphanages. Recently, they made a film about the use of child slaves in African cocoa fields. “It isn’t the slavery we are all familiar with and which most of us imagine was abolished decades ago,” says Brian Woods. “Back then, a slave owner could produce documents to prove ownership. Now, it’s a secretive trade which leaves behind little evidence. Modern slaves are cheap and disposable. They have three things in common with their ancestors. They aren’t paid, they are kept working by violence or the threat of it, and they are not free to leave.”

Blewett and Woods tell of meeting Drissa, a young man from Mali who had been tricked into working on an Ivory coast cocoa farm. “When Drissa took his shirt off, I had never seen anything like it. I had seen some pretty nasty things in my time but this was appalling. There wasn’t an inch of his body which wasn’t scarred.”

This from John Robbins, of the the Baskin Robbins family fame: “Is There Slavery In Your Chocolate?

Here, another “history” of Hershey, Milton:

Rags-to-riches stories might seem like they’re a dime a dozen, but Hershey’s story was shaped by incredible hardship. Born Milton Snavely Hershey on September 13, 1857, Hershey had one younger sister who died when she was 4. His father was prone to what Hershey History calls “get rich schemes”, and all of those schemes — which included a trout farm — failed. Attempts to find that one last working scheme meant a lot of moving around, so young Hershey attended seven different schools before ultimately ending his formal education at the fourth grade.

Hershey then embarked on a series of failed ventures. He was dismissed from an apprenticeship as a printer, declared bankruptcy after opening his first candy company, and traveled across the country in a failed attempt to get in on a silver mine. He tried another candy business in New York City, and the doors closed on that one, too.

Hershey’s family — who had invested in his failed businesses — largely shunned him. The exception was an aunt, who gave him a loan to buy his first caramel-making equipment. He spent days making candy, nights selling them from a pushcart, and found his calling. (Source)

Rags to riches, and that American Dream.

According to a 2010 report titled “Time to Raise the Bar: The Real Corporate Social Responsibility for the Hershey Company,” “Hershey has no policies in place to purchase cocoa that has been produced without the use of labor exploitation, and the company has consistently refused to provide public information about its cocoa sources…Finally, Hershey’s efforts to further cut costs in its cocoa production has led to a reduction in good jobs in the United States.” (Source)

Note that the dream/nightmare, all that murdering and land theft, AKA, The Indian Wars, lasted until 1924 (started in 1609).

SAQs for APUSH Topic 3.2 — The French and Indian War | by Peter Paccone | Medium

Opinion Page: Newport News Times, Fourth of July by Paul Haeder

Baseball, Mom and Apple Pie — Another Fourth of July Lie

Do we collectively have a duty as Americans to honor the idea of hope, change and a Republic free from British rule? Yep. I’ve worked as a teacher for 45 years. Before that, I was a product intense indoctrination — military brat. Mark two branches my old man ventured into: Air Force and Army. He put in 32 years, total.

I was born to question authority. Living overseas, on military bases and posts, and around a militaristic mindset, I did my duty as any red-blooded American should: question those who wield power. That wasn’t just the MPs I crossed paths with. I doubted my teachers’ power. As a newspaperman, I questioned many of those powers while covering city, county, military, education, police and federal beats.

That powerful elixir — free speech, free association and “innocent before proven guilty”— had entered my veins young. I questioned my editors’ decisions and questioned the owners of these small newspapers, and then later, the owners of the big papers (owned by Gannet or Pulitzer) for which I worked.

I gravitated toward the words of Americans like Frederick Douglass. “What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.” (1852).

I anticipate cringing from News-Times readers with concocted beliefs in false prophets and bad information. Knowing our people’s history of the United States is about embracing the good, bad, and ugly, as well as the warts and accomplishments of the US of A.

There is no communist conspiracy tied to teaching ethnic studies, embracing more nuanced history of indigenous and enslaved people, and knowing the roots of some disastrous features of our country’s legal, economic, and education systems: monopolies, Manifest Destiny, oligarchs influencing policy and laws, a second gilded age of wealth gap between haves and haves not, racism, sexism, and debt.

Douglass may have been pointing out the injustices in that July 4 speech, but he was aware of his place in the country. “The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable — and the difficulties to be overcome in getting from the latter to the former, are by no means slight,” Douglass stated 170 years ago.

Some of the most remarkable “patriots” I have worked with were people assisting the poor, sick, old, disabled, and needy. In El Paso, Casa Anunciacion was run and staffed by remarkable people giving aid to refugees of Guatemala and El Salvador. While these simple people in many cases came to the U.S. for political asylum, they embraced Ruben Garcia, the ex-priest running the nonprofit, and the youth coming from around the country doing “their service” for mostly Jesuit and private colleges.

Imagine, victims of murder and forced displacement enforced by U.S.-trained militaries and leaders, and yet these people embraced us, the volunteers. They saw the United States as how Emma Lazarus imagined a Jewish refugee or Italian bricklayer would hold self-evident about this country. Her poem, “The New Colossus,” is at the base of Lady Liberty:

From her beacon-hand…
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’

Her poem was cast in bronze and put on the statue of Liberty. The statue was not conceived as a symbol of immigration. But to the millions of immigrants heading for Ellis Island, passing under the torch and her shining face, immigrants connected Lady Liberty with their own freedom.

Lazarus’s poem was set upon the pedestal in 1903 and “forever” locked the statue as a welcoming mother, and a symbol of hope to those outcasts of the world.

Shifting political baselines and cultural barrages, however, have forced people to defend that plaque. Even a fellow like Stephen Miller (senior advisor for policy and White House director of speechwriting to President Donald Trump) stated he thought the Lazarus poem should be ripped from the monument.

We are a divided nation, on many fronts, not just red state v. blue state. Read your history about slavery, about prohibition, about wars fought under false pretentions. We have been a mixed-up tossed salad of people, cultures, ethnicities. Not that proverbial melting pot.

There is a large dose of naivety in America’s collective consciousness that we are the world’s example of democracy. It is this hubris that covers both hope and delusion. However, we must hold future generations in both our collective hearts and with our policies.

Legacy is one not burdened with debt, decay, failing infrastructure and failing wars. We have to embrace our democracy’s roots: the Iroquois Confederacy, founded by the Great Peacemaker in 1142, is the oldest living participatory democracy on earth.

Ben Franklin followed suit 600 years later. Franklin referenced the Iroquois model as he presented his Plan of Union at the Albany Congress in 1754, attended by representatives of the Iroquois and the seven colonies. He invited the Great Council members of the Iroquois to address the Continental Congress in 1776.

Our roots run deep into this country’s Native American model of governance: one that is fair and will always meet the needs of the seventh generation to come.

This principle dictates that decisions made today should lead to sustainability for seven generations into the future. This Independence Day, can we realign ourselves into creating strong kinship bonds that promote leadership in which honor is not earned by material gain but by service to others?

End

Of course, apples are native to  Kazakhstan, in central Asia east of the Caspian Sea. The capital of Kazakhstan, Alma Ata, means “full of apples.” By 1500 BC apple seeds had been carried throughout Europe.

The Memory of Fire by Eduardo Galleano is magificent in bringing historical grounding to the Americas as:Genesis, Faces and Masks, and Century of the Wind. This epic prose poem covers Latin American history written in short vignettes that are nonfiction, but flow in a narrative prose which reads like fiction.

Console yourself not with the lie that your foe is weak, or stupid, or evil. Sometimes the enemy is worthy. Sometimes his cause is just. Sometimes both sides are right in their own ways-and in the hour that just causes collide, good men will rise up and leap into the fray, and the clash of their meeting will shake the heavens. And their blood will flow like rivers.

― Holly Lisle, Memory of Fire

Check him out on the internet, recorded in May 2009: Eduardo Galeano (1940-2015) Laura Flanders interviewed the author in anticipation of what would become his last book, Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone, published by Nation Books. Galeano spent a lifetime reflecting on the lives—political, cultural, and historical—of the people of the Americas. In April 2009, Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chavez gave Barack Obama a copy of Galeano’s book Open Veins of Latin America. Galeano joined us to discuss his work, the political moment, and the past and future of US-Latin American relations.

Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.